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Drug Control Policy: The European Perspective

Monday 17 June 2013 09:00 - 19:00
Tuesday 18 June 2013 09:00 - 14:00
Conference Room, Villa la Fonte
Department of Law
photo courtesy of dkalo

The drug control regime established by the international community has not succeeded in curbing either the demand for, or the offer of, narcotics. Despite its meager success, support for repealing drug-prohibition laws remains scarce. Expertise casting doubt on the efficacy of current policies is often overshadowed by impassioned political discourses, and the criminalisation of drug use has discredited any attempt to voice the concern of drug users. Nonetheless, a gradual policy convergence in Europe reveals the emergence of a model favouring public-health strategies over a strictly penal approach to combating drugs.
Moreover, growing trans-national support for legalisation indicates the persistence of an alternative paradigm for drug policy. The impetus for drug policy changes originates from several loci: grassroots movements growing ever more trans-national, NGO networks, private foundations and academic research centres among others. These actors develop various strategies to challenge global prohibition ranging from awareness-raising campaigns to cause lawyering, and the proposal of blueprints for drug regulation. As such, they contribute alternative policy directions.
It is unclear, though, to what extent this announces a shift in the way the international community deals with the problem of illicit drugs. Local institutional experiences of drug decriminalisation remain controversial in Europe, and civil society initiatives promoting policy changes in this direction have failed to gather momentum. The symposium will assess these alternative discourses in the light of international drug policy. In order to do so, the meeting will revisit the architecture of the global drug control regime in a European perspective, map out the trans-national actors promoting policy changes in Europe, and evaluate their credibility and impact on European and international institutions.

photo courtesy of dkalo

  • Renaud Nicolas Colson (EUI - Department of Law)